VMware offers certifications in cloud management and automation, data center and network virtualization, and desktop and mobility. This certification guide will help you get started with VMware’s certs and develop your career path.
VMware creates server and desktop virtualization software that streamlines IT operations across the general IT infrastructure, in data centers, throughout the cloud and on mobile devices. VMware’s flagship data center platform is vSphere, which is also part of its VMware vCloud Suite. Other major VMware products include Horizon, vSAN and the vRealize Suite. VMware professional services account for more than half of the company’s sales, and include technical support, consulting, training and a wide-ranging certification program.
VMware was founded in 1998, became a subsidiary of EMC Corporation in 2004 and now falls under the Dell Technologies umbrella. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, California.
VMware Certification Program Overview
As a leader in the virtualization space, VMware certifications are a must-have for many IT professionals, especially those who work in data centers and/or support virtual environments.
VMware certifications are based on a version of the associated technology, which means VMware certifications change in response to technology changes. Be aware, though, that certification updates lag behind the release of new virtualization technology. The company has retired most exams for Version 5/5.5 certifications, and will slowly phase out Version 6 certifications as new exams for Version 7 are released. As of this writing, though, there are only two Version 7 certifications available. Given that, we concentrate on requirements for Version 6 in this article, but we’ll point out the Version 7 certifications where applicable.
VMware Version 6 certifications fall into four categories:
- Cloud Management and Automation
- Data Center Virtualization
- Desktop and Mobility
- Network Virtualization
Each category offers various certification levels, such as:
- VMware Certified Associate (VCA)
- VMware Certified Professional (VCP)
- VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP)
- VMware Certified Implementation Expert (VCIX)
- VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX)
Associate certifications typically require passing a single exam to achieve certification. Candidates for Professional and Advanced Professional certifications must either take a training course or earn a prerequisite certification and pass an exam (a few certifications require two exams). To obtain a VCIX, candidates must earn two VCAP credentials.
Achieving a VCDX6 certification is more involved. Candidates must first obtain multiple prerequisite certs, then create a production-ready VMware solution and defend it in front of a panel. Currently, only one Design Expert credential is available, in the Data Center Virtualization track.
VMware requires professional-level and higher certification holders to recertify every two years to maintain their credentials. You can find more info on VMware recertification requirements at: http://mylearn.vmware.com/portals/certification/
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VMware Cloud Management And Automation (CMA) Certifications
VMware Cloud Management and Automation (CMA) certifications recognize a candidate’s skills working with the vCloud Suite, including vRealize, as well as general and advanced cloud computing knowledge.
There are two VCA6 certs available in the Cloud Management and Automation category:
- VCA6-Cloud Management and Automation (VCA6-CMA) – geared toward IT professionals familiar with vCloud Suite products and technologies, as well as the technical requirements for cloud infrastructure virtualization.
- VCA6-Hybrid Cloud (VCA6-HC) – targets IT professionals working with vCloud Air, hybrid cloud platforms and related technologies.
Next up is the VCP6-Cloud Management and Automation (VCP6-CMA) credential. This certification is ideal for candidates who have worked with vRealize Automation implementations for at least six months. If you are new to vRealize, you must take a mandatory training course and pass the vSphere 6 Foundations Exam (2V0-620) and the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Cloud Management and Automation Exam (2V0-631). If you already hold a VCP certification for any unexpired solution track, you can simply take the VCP6-CMA exam. The VCP6-CMA credential is granted automatically to candidates who already possess the VCP6-Cloud credential.
Note: The Version 7 credential, the VCP7-CMA, is also available. The requirements and details are the same except for these two differences: the Cloud Management and Automation Exam is 2V0-731 and candidates who already have their VCP6-CMA must take that exam (no automatic upgrade).
There are two VCAP certifications available in the Cloud Management and Automation category:
- VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Cloud Management and Automation Design (VCAP6-CMA Design) – candidates must pass the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Cloud Management and Automation Design Exam (3V0-632).
- VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Cloud Management and Automation Deployment (VCAP6-CMA Deploy) – candidates must pass the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Cloud Management and Automation Deployment Exam (3V0-633).
VMware recommends two years of experience for each credential, and both credentials require the VCP6-CMA as a prerequisite. Candidates who possess other VCP credentials or who are seeking to upgrade should check the certification page for current requirements.
The next step in the Cloud Management and Automation certification ladder is the VMware Certified Implementation Expert 6 – Cloud Management and Automation (VCIX6-CMA). This credential targets IT professionals capable of both designing and deploying enterprise-level solutions using vRealize Automation. To obtain this credential, candidates must possess both the VCAP6-Design and VCAP6-Deployment credentials.
VMware Data Center Virtualization (DCV) Certifications
VMware’s Data Center Virtualization certifications revolve around skills on vSphere 6. The VMware Certified Associate 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCA6-DCV) is an entry-level certification geared toward individuals familiar with vSphere and other VMware solutions and technologies. To earn the credential, candidates need to pass the VMware Certified Associate 6 – Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals exam (1V0-621).
The VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCP6-DCV) is a highly popular certification aimed toward candidates with at least six months’ experience with VMware infrastructure technologies. A VCP6-DCV is proficient in installing, implementing and managing VMware vSphere environments. Candidates who are new to VMware need to pass two exams, the vSphere 6 Foundations Exam (2V0-620) and the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Exam (2V0-621).
There are two Advanced Professional certifications in the Data Center Virtualization category:
- VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Deployment (VCAP6-DCV Deploy) – for individuals with at least two years of VMware virtual environment administration experience and who possess any VCP6-DCV certification.
- VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Design (VCAP6-DCV Design) – geared toward candidates who work with vSphere 6 technologies in a virtual environment and possess any VCP6 level certification.
The next step in the Data Center Virtualization ladder is the VMware Certified Implementation Expert 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCIX6-DCV). This credential is geared toward IT professionals who can design and deploy enterprise level virtual infrastructure solutions based VMware V6. Candidates must earn both the VCAP6-DCV Design and VCAP6-DCV Deploy credentials to obtain the VCIX6-DCV.
The pinnacle certification in this track is the VMware Certified Design Expert 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCDX6-DCV). Aimed at architects, candidates must hold current VCIX6-DCV, create a VMware vSphere-based design and project, and present and defend it before a panel of VCDX-holders.
VMware Desktop And Mobility (DTM) Certifications
VMware’s Desktop and Mobility certifications are designed for IT professionals who deploy and manage VMware Horizon with View environments. There are five credentials available in this category.
The VMware Certified Associate 6 – Desktop and Mobility (VCA6-DTM) is an entry-level credential for IT professionals working with mobile devices and desktops in virtual environments. There are no prerequisites, and candidates can take a free eLearning course, but they must pass one exam.
The VMware Certified Professional 6 – Desktop and Mobility (VCP6-DTM) is for candidates with at least six months of experience working with environments using vSphere 6 and Horizon 6 with View. Candidates must attend a training course plus pass two exams to earn this credential.
Note: The Version 7 credential, the VCP7-DTM, is also available. This certification focuses on vSphere 6 and Horizon 7 with View.
Two advanced credentials are offered in the Desktop and Mobility category:
- VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Desktop and Mobility Design (VCA6-DTM Design) – targets IT professionals who design and integrate Horizon 6 environments.
- VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Desktop and Mobility Deployment (VCAP6-DTM Deploy) – geared toward individuals who deploy and optimize Horizon 6 environments.
Two years of professional experience is required for each and both take the VCP6-DTM as a prerequisite.
The final rung of the Desktop and Mobility certification ladder is the VMware Certified Implementation Expert 6 – Desktop and Mobility (VCIX6-DTM). Candidates who earn this credential are able to both design and deploy solutions working with Horizon 6 with View. Candidates must earn both the VCAP6-DTM Design and VCAP6-DTM Deploy credentials.
VMware Network Virtualization (NV) Certifications
The VMware Network Virtualization certification portfolio contains four credentials targeting IT professionals who design, manage, and implement VMware NSX environments.
The VMware Certified Associate 6 – Network Virtualization (VCA6-NV) certification is geared toward candidates who are familiar with the cost and operational benefits of VMware NSX network virtualization and how it’s used to address business challenges. There are no prerequisites and a free eLearning course is provided. Candidates must pass a single exam, VMware Certified Associate 6 – Network Virtualization Exam (1V0-642) to obtain the credential.
Next is the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Network Virtualization (VCP6-NV) credential. This credential is geared toward professionals with at least six months’ experience who install, configure and administer NSX implementations. Candidates must attend a required training course plus pass two exams to earn the credential. The training course prerequisite is waived for candidates who possess a valid Cisco Routing and Switching (CCIE, CCNP, or CCNA) or Data Center (CCIE, CCNP, or CCNA) credential.
Currently, there is only one advanced credential available in the Network Virtualization category: the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Network Virtualization Deployment (VCAP6-NV Deploy). To obtain the credential, candidates must possess the VCP6-NV certification and pass the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Network Virtualization Deployment exam. Two years’ experience in deploying VMware NSX environments is recommended as well as general IT experience. Candidates who possess Cisco’s CCIE Data Center or CCIE Routing and Switching certifications need only take the exam to obtain the credential. A second advanced credential – VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Network Virtualization Design (VCAP6-NV Design) – is planned but not yet available.
The final credential in the Network Virtualization certification ladder is the VMware Certified Implementation Expert 6 – Network Virtualization (VCIX6-NV). Normally, candidates are required to obtain both the VCAP6 Design and Deploy credentials to obtain the VCIX6 designation. However, VMware is waiving the VCAP6-NV Design requirement until that certification becomes available.
Related Jobs and Career Paths
With more than 500,000 customers globally that span all major industries, VMware has dominated server virtualization market share for years. That means organizations are constantly looking for qualified staff to install, administer and support VMware solutions. Consulting firms and resellers need the same type of skilled workers, as well as those who can propose solutions to customers and work with account executives, engineers and project managers to deliver those solutions on time.
The majority of job roles associated with VMware certifications are systems administrators and systems engineers.
The systems administrator role tends to focus on server provisioning, and operation and maintenance of systems hardware, software and related infrastructure. They are often involved in system monitoring, system and application log reviews, tuning and optimization, patching and upgrading, server backups and restoration, and troubleshooting.
The systems engineer role applies higher level business or technical principles to issues to determine the best solution. This role often performs systems analysis, evaluation, design and integration, and consults with team members and customers from the implementation planning and design phase through testing.
VMware Training and Resources
Visit the VMware Education site to learn about a variety of high-quality courses (online and classroom), browse the eLearning and Instructional Video libraries and more. Some details are not available unless you register with VMware Education and sign in.
Training courses can be expensive. For example, typical costs for VCP6 training range from $4,000 to more than $7,000, depending on the delivery format. VMware often offers discounts on training and exams, which puts the cost of training within reach of a wider audience. Visit the VMware Training & Certification Special Offers and Beta Classes page for information.